Lil’ Ruggers Bringing Rugby Fun To A New Generation

Lil Ruggers Chatham

Members of the Lil’ Ruggers program in Chatham – Contributed Photo

Chatham-Kent’s next generation of athletes have been hitting the field this summer with the Kent Havoc’s Lil’ Ruggers program.

And if they don’t turn out to be athletes, it won’t matter, because the 23 youth registered some as young as two-years-old, are having fun.

“This is our third year running the program, and we have seen steady growth in registration and unexpected interest from kids of parents that have never played rugby themselves,” said Kristin Buis, who runs the program.

“Over the past 3 years, I have enjoyed teaching my favourite sport to kids, but even more exciting is the potential of training the next Breanne Nicholas,” she added, pointing to Blenheim product Breanne Nicholas, who now plays for Canada’s Rugby 7s team.

“In a few years, my Lil’ Ruggers will be playing Flag rugby, then full 15s, then possibly representing Canada in the Olympics. I dream big and have a lot of patience. Though that idea is very exciting, really, this program is about passing on my passion to kids, and getting to see them learn an easy-to-love sport and become part of our ever growing rugby family,” continued Buis.

Formerly “Rookie Rugby,” Buis brought the program to life when her own children showed interest in the sport, and saw other Kent Havoc members with similarly aged children.

“The program has grown and changed, as have I as a coach, and I am always learning and trying out new ways to introduce little ones in our community to the Nation’s fastest growing sport.”

The Lil Ruggers have been participating all summer, and will also be part of the Kent Havoc’s Club Day, July 20.

Pictured Above – Back row: Anna Morkin (8), Taylor Edmonson (7), Tristan Cook (7), Hannah Vervaet (6) Finnley Waddick (8). Middle: Ellie Reaume (2) Carmen Vervaet (5), Kensington Cook (5), Andie Richards (4), Zak Blanchette (4), Harlow Waddick (5), Ruben Buis (6). Front rows: Roman Handsor, Kameron Cowley, Zackary Brady (2), Jonah Buis (4). Present but not in group photo: Milah Vervate (3) Evelyn Buis. Absent Jocelyn Morkin, Henry and Andrew Huston, Bennet Ford and Kelton Arnel.

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    Kim Ladd 4 years

    It’s nice to see parents interact with their children while Kristin is teaching them. She is an awesome teacher and has a lot of patience. The kids have tons of fun and like getting together on Saturday mornings. They all know “Saturday’s a Rugby Day”! I am so very proud of Kristin, and love watching her teach these Lil’ Ruggers. I don’t know who has more fun, the kids or the coach.